The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


September 20, 2011

Listening to common sense is best

ENID — Do you have common sense?  Think about it.

Furthermore, if you do have common sense, do you use it? Think about that.

I have an elder sister who will remain anonymous — she knows who she is — who had eye surgery by a surgeon in Tulsa. She did very well following her surgery and went back for her final check-up. He was very pleased and told her she could go back to her usual chores and daily activities. What the surgeon did not know was she was a rancher who was running the ranch at that time all by herself because her husband was ill. Her daily activities included throwing out hay and huge sacks of “cow cake” every day to their herd of cattle. It also included chopping ice if necessary and any other chores that might come up, like repairing a fence or installing a new gate.

Too late, she realized she had not used common sense when she developed difficulty with her vision. When confronted, she said, “But the doctor told me to return to my usual chores and activities.”

The smartest person on earth (and in my books she is up there among them) did not use common sense at that time. She is doing fine now, but had a difficult time of recovery. She  learned a hard lesson. Her common sense was clouded by her desire to keep things going as usual, and caring for her invalid husband.

Jim says most heroes during wars that receive the Medal of Honor, use common sense instead of following direct orders. Those heroes momentarily forget about themselves and go back into a situation to save the lives of their buddies, with risk of court marshal for disobeying direct orders from an officer. They use common sense and a sense of duty to save precious lives of their buddies.

When I was a kid, we were taught to use common sense. When we went to get the cows for milking every evening, we were told to look over the herd and if anything looked suspicious with any animal, to bring it in with the milk cows. I never had a sixth sense about knowing which cows to bring home, but my younger sister did. I liked to get cows with her, because she always was right.

Daddy always told us to “use our gumption.” If we were given particular instructions and there was a problem, we had to work it out on our own. We had a phone on the wall, but we did not have a cellphone with us at all times like we do now. A phone not always was readily available in a “pinch.” We just had to use our gumption, common sense and sound reasoning to figure things out in emergencies.

Once, when I was a teenager, I came to Phillips University for a visitor weekend. While I was here, there came up the worst snow/ice storm one can imagine. I caught the bus to go back to Pawnee, but the roads got worse as we progressed along our way. Cars were off the highway or traveling real slow. Finally, at about 3 in the morning, we arrived in Pawnee. I got off the bus, but there was nothing open except a hotel.  I walked to the hotel and tried to call home. The rural phone lines were all down. I knew Mother and Daddy would be worried, but they gave me credit for using my head. They did not know if I still was in Enid, along the way, or in Pawnee.

Using common sense or gumption, I called Miss Nellie, a lovely member of our church who lived in town and worked at the bank we used. I told her my problem and she told me to come right on up to her house. A friend with a pickup who was at the hotel took me there and did not even charge me. Miss Nellie heated blankets and put me in a warm bed. By morning, the storm had subsided and things straightened out. I finally reached my parents and they made everything better.

I tried to thank Miss Nellie, but she said I could not pay her ... that favors had to be passed on, not returned. I have remembered that to this day. Mother and Daddy knew in their hearts I would use gumption and come up with the right solution to my dilemma. What could have been a catastrophe turned out fine.

Because we all carry cellphones and have instant access to our loved ones and work, I think we fail to use common sense now like we used to. I know my gumption has gotten rusty. I depend on someone else to work out my problems now and explain changes in schedules, etc.

Reality may tell us one thing, but our common sense sometimes tells us something else. It is called “gut feeling.” We better listen to our inner instructions, or we get into trouble.

Our youngest granddaughter has two young children. She is inclined to become a little hysterical if she or one of them gets sick. She will call, and we have to settle her down and have her use her head and not take them to emergency every time they put their mouth on a bottle of throat spray that someone else has used (as has happened). She does listen to reason, and we are grateful she is concerned, but clinics don’t  start anti-biotics just because a kid has touched his lips to a closed bottle.

It takes a lot of gumption to raise children.

Every day, we use common sense, or at least we should. We use common sense to know when to consult a physician, to get gas for our cars, to keep groceries on hand for emergencies, and many other things. If we don’t use common sense, things get the best of us. We must listen to what our own bodies tell us. We know ourselves and our capabilities and limitations better than anybody else.

Use your common sense and bring out the crock pot for these cool days ahead. We love this easy recipe.

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